Receiving the Gold Award in Girl Scouts is a rare achievement that few Girl Scouts reach. Not only did one girl in an Oshkosh troop receive the Gold Award, but all six achieved the massive accomplishment. This is a big deal, especially when considering the fact that less than 5 percent of Girl Scouts earn the award nationally.
Journalism Internship Coordinator Barb Benish is the leader of Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 2092. Since the start of the troop when the girls were only in elementary school, Benish has helped the girls achieve their goals every step of the way. She also received the Girl Scout Volunteer Excellence Award for her dedication and service to Girl Scouts at their May 9 ceremony.
In order for scouts to receive the Gold Award, they must complete a seven-step project that makes a difference in the community. After choosing and researching an issue, Benish helped the girls create a plan.
The various projects took months and sometimes more than a year to complete. The girls chose projects that interested them, such as creating a prom dress closet that offers free dresses to Oshkosh and area teens for homecoming and prom, to encouraging children to exercise through a 6-week summer dance program, to creating 500 toys for cats at the Oshkosh Area Humane Society so they are happy and occupied until they are adopted. The three other projects focused on revitalizing sites at Terrell’s Island, the Wild Ones WILD Center and the Waukau Creek Nature Preserve.
The six girls worked a total of 523 hours finishing their projects, but family and friends put in an additional 570 hours to see those projects to fruition, for a total of 1,094 hours.
Along the way, Benish helped them find projects and provided encouragement and general support. The girls said that she is like a second mother to them. She did all this while teaching at UW Oshkosh and organizing the yearly NEWSPA event held on campus.
Even though the troop will disband next year, they will always carry the experiences they shared and the friendships they created. It just goes to show all the amazing things our professors do in and out of the classroom. Congratulations to Barb Benish and the girls of Troop 2092!